Interview with Sofia Sfyroera, 27th January 2008
Friday 10 April 2009
The observations below are one aspect of the pre-history of the Capodistrias-Spinelli-Europe initiative, which began to take more formal shape with the publication of the Declaration and the holding of the inaugural meeting in the European Parliament offices in Athens on 6th April, 2009.
That said, the Initiative is an ongoing process, whose objectives are outlined in the Declaration and whose subsequent progress is outlined at this portal and at the Initiative’s Greek site.
Contact details for the Initiative are to be found on the Contact page.
Wayne Hall: Today is a very important day. It’s the 180th anniversary of the foundation of the Greek state in Aigina, under the governor Capodistrias. We’re going to be speaking today with Sofia Sfyroera, who is the author of an important book on Aigina, the Aigina of Capodistrias, called “Aigina, first capital of Modern Greece”. That is a very basic theme for us. It really was the starting point for what has become the “Capodistrias-Spinelli Initiative”. We have spoken to Sofia about this initiative - it is an initiative which interests her as much as it does us – and I’m going to ask Sofia now to say a few words about how it was that she wrote this marvellous book on the subject of the Aigina of Capodistrias.
Sofia Sfyroera: I think that this book – you know books are like children – I had this book in my mind but I think that I had the chance to write it when I lost a very very important person who worked very hard on Capodistrias and I think that this book is a homage to him. But Aigina is a place I enjoyed very much from my childhood. I came very often with my parents, with my brother, and then when I was adult, with my friends, just to enjoy ourselves, to have holidays, to have a nice time. Then, when this important person, who has died now, Mr. Pavlos Petridis, who was a professor of political and diplomatic history, came into my life, we came very often, because we planned to make some very important things for Aigina and for Capodistrias. His vision was to collect all Capodistrias’ archives and to establish a special university department in the “Orfanotrofeio” where the students who study political history would make special studies on Capodistrias.
Wayne Hall: I see. Now what do you think of the idea of linking Capodistrias, the founder of the Greek state and architect also of the constitution of Switzerland, with Spinelli, who is the man that laid the first foundations for a European Constitution in 1984 in the European parliament? Do you think that this attempt to give a pan-European dimension to Capodistrias is something interesting and appropriate?
Sofia Sfyroera: Of course it is. It’s a great idea I think because the contribution of Capodistrias to European politics is very important.
by Wayne Hall
The proposition being put forward is that reconstitution of the Spinelli project is going to entail a rethinking of the whole European integration process, starting from an assumption that Greece ’s entry into the European Union in 1981 was an unfortunate anomaly. Rather than being the STARTING POINT for the process, as it should have been, Greece entered as a latecomer and has since been trying to adapt to an integration process that has been getting MORE AND MORE ONTO THE WRONG TRACK.
This reality was only confirmed by the recent decision at the recent seminar of the international citizens’ movement ATTAC in Paris that Spinelli’s draft constitutional treaty is merely "of historical significance". If Spinelli has been dumped by the mainstream (would-be) European integration process (including ATTAC), then that process has to be rejected in its entirety and reconstruction started on other foundations, beginning with the revolution of 1821 that led to the founding of the modern Greek state in Aigina in 1828.
2For more information on Altiero Spinelli see2:
2. Mikael Book: Reconstitute Spinelli’s Project
3. Philip Dragoumis
View online : The Initiative’s Greek site